November arrived and stole some more of our precious daylight. I’ve been nursing my second cold in a month and worked only with my fuzzy brain. Maybe next week I’ll tackle the stack of half-finished bullet journals. Maybe next week I’ll run away for a while instead. We’ll see. Today I still have fresh books for you from the days not yet spent in bed. One of the most inquired after specialties is books suitable for painting with watercolours - your wishes have been heard and now there’s not only books with paper for mixed media in the shop but also these hardcover watercolour paper sketchbooks.
Wow-just-wow. My mood lately, that is. Letting things sink in. The book fair went really well, but of course it’s a bit exhausting to wander in the record-breaking crowds and to be on stage with a million other things competing for the audience’s attention. Before I get deeper into my personal wow stuff, I want to share with you my latest artists’ book I made for the #areyoubookenough bookbinding community challenge.
The October theme for the challenge was ‘Found’ and for some reason I struggled against using just some random found stuff (of which I have more than plenty of even in my own home, so it wasn’t because of any lack of material). In the end I narrowed down my approach by thinking more about items that are lost rather than found. Everyday objects constantly not where you expect them to be. Items that have actually become worthless with time and wear. My father passed onto me a tin filled with random old things put into safe keeping most likely by his parents or grandparents - a few pairs of rusty scissors, keys, buttons, nails, pins, razor blades, and the like. Absolutely worthless and useless stuff for most people these days, but I’m not most people. So, I turned my lost&found&forgotten&found items into a triptych.
Typewritten title on the case. To me the enclosure of an artists’ book is just as important as the book itself - I want them to really go together. Since my triptych items are small domestic items, I drew inspiration for the case from matchboxes and created a very simple sliding case for my book.
These ornate scissors have long ago been replaced by better ones, but saved just in case, maybe because you just don’t throw away stuff like this. The buttons were saved despite their massive wear and tear. The keys were saved and now no one knows what they once opened - the lock permanently lost in time. All these easily lost items were most likely forgotten as soon as they were stuffed for safe keeping into the tin where I found them. The tin was forgotten. The tin was found. Time had unexpectedly turned these items into something worth something, once again. It’s my turn to keep them safe and celebrate everyday items.
Back to the wow-just-wow: I won the book award I mentioned in my last post! My poetry book Koko meren laajuus was awarded for being the best second book by an author, and I got this beautiful wood and metal award that weighs a ton and is just waiting to be featured as a murder weapon in a novel! I’ve gotten so used to being in the margin as a poet that the win was an absolutely unexpected one for me - the award’s been handed out five times now, and my book was the first book of poetry to win, which makes me even more delighted over the jury’s decision. I’ve been beaming with happiness and will continue to do so for a while longer…
My book has been received so, so wonderfully, I can’t really believe it. It was a risk to write poetry about the sea and love/sex/intimacy/whatever, since those themes have been written about time and time again. I’m glad I dared to do it. I’m glad my readers have found my poetry fresh yet timeless. I actually see a clear connection between my aesthetics in writing and bookbinding. Things seemingly simple have surprising layers and a massive professional dedication behind them. I’m glad I dare to do me in all I do.
It’s Helsinki Book Fair time of the year. This time around I’m there talking about my poetry book, but before that some especially exciting things are happening: I’m one of the three finalists for Toisinkoinen book award handed out at a gala event tonight by the Finnish literature students of Helsinki University for the best second book to come out this past year. The other two finalists are amazing, so just to be nominated is an honour, but keep your fingers crossed for me anyway!
Knowing I’d have very little time at the end of this week for bookbinding, I was a super hardworking girl earlier. I have my #areyoubookenough artists’ book finished and photographed (to be shared early next week), and I have a massive stacks of books in various stages of unfinishedness. Thankfully there’s also a small stack of finished books!
These books have pages made out of heavyweight (200gsm) paper suitable for mixed media making these perfect for sketchbook or art journal use. The Coptic binding also allows the books to open flat for maximum ease.
Matchy-matchy endpapers and sturdy hard covers. Yours if you want ->
The past week has gone not like I planned. Canceled performances, meetings and trips, but also a lot of work I hadn’t expected to get done in weeks to come. I wish all colds were like this - a high fever followed by days of feeling not quite right but so bored out of your mind, you turn into a paper folding machine, and have stacks and stacks of books ready for the next steps. I had been so worried about not having enough books in my shop for the holiday season so quickly approaching, but after the last few days I’m confident I’ll get great things done in the following weeks. Taking most of the year off bookbinding - or at least neglecting it - in favour of poetry was something I needed to do, but now bookbinding can be my priority once again. I hope you’ve been patiently waiting for my return to this focus and will continue to support me, especially when you’re picking out presents this year…
This week I’m presenting you with some unique - as always - notebooks. These large landscape format books were made using the sewn boards binding technique, which results in covers that remain flexible despite their thickness. Here I’ve used board that’s a bit stiffer than the one I usually use for this technique, as the last thing you want with a landscape format notebook is covers that don’t provide enough support for writing or sketching in situations where there isn’t a table in front of you. The end product is still really nice and light to handle. If this piques your interest, you can find these two in the Paperiaarre shop.
Apart from folding paper like one happy robot, I’ve been working on my entry for this month’s #areyoubookenough challenge. The theme is ‘Found’ and I’m focusing on some really common domestic items that seem to be going missing all the time. I have actually finished my triptych, but I’m letting the ideas for an enclosure take their time while I work on some bullet journals and watercolour/mixed media sketchbooks. The next steps on those involve a lot of cutting and elbow grease, so I think I need to give myself a few more days to recover before I grab my knife and plough, and work up a sweat. Yeah, bookbinding isn’t always simple and easy and light. Sometimes when you don’t have a lot of big equipment, you use what you’ve got - and I’ve got some sad, neglected muscles and some sharp blades.
See you next week when this thing should be no longer in pieces!
As promised, more new books this week! I’m finishing up on some sewn boards bindings I started in the summer months and have been itching to see in the flesh ever since the idea of them came to me. The first lot is this trio of small notebooks with beautiful print endpapers. You can now find them in the shop.
Picking matching endpapers and linen fabric is a particularly enjoyable part of the bookbinding process for me. Once I know what materials I’m using, I can already see the finished book in my mind’s eye. After that it’s just about recreating that vision with my hands, and I know what I need to do in order to make it happen. As soon as I have that vision, the book becomes an individual instead of simply a thing to tick off the to-do list.
This month the #areyoubookenough bookbinding community challenge has the theme ‘Found’ and I’m actually struggling a bit. Found items and random collections play such a big part in my everyday life and in my own art, it’s difficult to choose where to start! I have picked some items that could form the core of my artists’ book, but just as well I could go down an entirely different path. Structures and practicalities are all still wholly undetermined, and while I do enjoy this moment where everything is in the air and there’s no rush, soon I’ll be running out of time like I always am. The end of the month will be dedicated to Helsinki Book Fair business as a poet, so I really should try and finish my project well on time this time around! Before it’s time to focus on ‘Found’, I’m going to finish some more books that have been waiting ever so patiently for my return from poetry.